Gaining Ground on Digital Equity

By the end of the year, AHC’s residents at The Spire in Alexandria will have access to free, high-speed internet in their apartments and in all common areas of the building.

A generous $174,000 investment from Capital One is helping make this project possible. It includes equipment installation for a building-wide network, internet access through Comcast, and $25,000 to provide technical support and assistance to residents.

Each household will also receive a Chromebook computer as part of the investment. The Spire has 113 affordable apartments, including dozens of school children who live in the building.

Learn more about AHC’s digital equity efforts.

 

Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org, 703-486‑0626 x1118

Growing Leaders Starts Early – AHC Pilots New Youth Program

Earlier this summer, fifth graders and their family members from AHC communities headed to college for the first time. They visited the University of Maryland as part of AHC’s Leaders in Training (LIT) program, a pilot program made possible this year through a Dominion Energy grant.

The program included 12 Arlington students and led the group through the college and career path. It also featured one-on-one mentoring with high-school students in AHC’s College & Career Readiness (CCR) program and visits to businesses for exposure to various careers.

A special graduation ceremony at the end of the school year celebrated the students’ accomplishments and graduation from elementary school.

“This year, we worked with the fifth graders and their families and shared resources that would help them plan their future after high school,” said Gabriela Segovia, CCR Manager with AHC. “We led sessions on the elementary- to middle-school transition and hosted career panels where young professionals spoke about their college journey as well as how they got in their current career field.”

The program included nine different workshops on a range of topics, including:

  • Importance of mental health – including a workshop that taught techniques for managing stress.
  • College insight – what a college application looks like, ways to pay for college and a real glimpse at what a college campus looks like.
  • Mentor pairings – high school students, paired with fifth graders, shared techniques to do well in school, activities they were part of, and even their challenges.

Many of the fifth graders joined the program not knowing what they wanted to do after high school. Now some have an idea, and they understand the importance of doing well in school.

Let the dreams begin! One student is now dreaming of becoming a pharmacist and another wants to play soccer at Virginia Tech.

We’re thrilled to continue the successful LIT program next year.

 

Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

AHC Celebrates Largest-Ever Graduating Class

On June 9, family, friends and mentors celebrated the 42 graduates of AHC’s College & Career Readiness (CCR) program. This was the highest number of graduating students since the program began. The CCR program also saw the largest number of overall participants this year, with 69 juniors and seniors from area high schools.

This year’s graduating students included a POSSE scholar, several students with full rides to college – and even two juniors who graduated early! Read more about the students heading to college.

As always, mentors played important roles in the success of the students. Their dedication and connection to the students was a game-changer. Ludwin Alvarez has worked with long-time mentor Marjorie Macieira since sixth grade, and she supported him through Teen Tutoring and CCR. In fact, Ludwin has been in AHC’s educational programs since first grade.

The keynote speaker at the event was Flor Caceres Godoy, a 2018 CCR alumni, Posse scholar and recent graduate from Lafayette College. Along with her valuable insights and advice for the graduates, she shared, “I know my number one fear going into college and high school, because both of them were predominantly white students, faculty and staff, was ‘am I going to fit in?’ The answer is no. You are not supposed to. You are meant to stand out. You are meant to shine brighter than ever before.”

Thank you to all of our mentors, volunteers, community partners, and supporters for helping AHC’s graduates shine bright!

2022 Graduating Students

  • Abigia Mulugeta
  • Afrin Akhtar
  • Alishaba Hayat
  • Amelia Castro
  • Anand Tselmeg
  • Andy Garcia
  • Anwar El Gattari
  • Ayman Adam
  • Azucena Moreno
  • Betel Bereket
  • Carla Bacerra
  • Carolina Soto
  • Cecilia Fosso
  • Claudia Andrade
  • Daisy Cabrera
  • Davis Orellana
  • Franklin Garcia
  • Fraol Gurmu
  • Gabriel Lara
  • Gabriella Perla
  • Hermon Gebreezgi
  • Iyar Soliman
  • Joanna Viruez Guzman
  • Joel Jonathan Escobar
  • Juhud Abdulkhadir
  • Karen Gonzales Cifuentes
  • Laetitia Noutcha
  • Logan Salinas
  • Ludwin Alvarez
  • Maha Bouchareb
  • Margad Enkhbat
  • Margot Rodriguez
  • Mia Henry
  • Nichole Escobar-Rojas
  • Nicolas Lopez
  • Nirusma Dahal
  • Simon Kahsay
  • Petros Kebede
  • Sahara Sania
  • Sara Berhe Abraha
  • Williz Zamorio

List of all the mentors

  • Ashly Winfield
  • Eric Hannon
  • Evan Heit
  • Sydney Gang
  • Susan Leland
  • Rick Carter
  • Pascale Pierre
  • Soonho Kwon
  • Sarah Kolk
  • Peter C. Pfieffer
  • Sharon Showalter
  • Chelsea Jones
  • Mariah Creech
  • Janet Bickel
  • CJ Park
  • Laurel Holmes
  • Adrienne Eng
  • Lizzie Utset
  • Greg Frey
  • Marjorie Macieira
  • Chelsea Legendre
  • Elsy Lopez
  • Katherine Swanson
  • Cindy Santner
  • Emily Kane
  • Jeanne Sweeney
  • Charles Barbour
  • Tara Claeys

 

Media Contact: Jennifer K. Smith, Director of Communications, 703-486‑0626 x1118

Key’s Pointe Project in Baltimore Receives $2.9M in ARPA Funding

June 16, 2022

More affordable housing is coming to Baltimore, with the help of $2.9M in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The funding will go toward a new phase of the Key’s Pointe development. AHC Greater Baltimore (AHC-GB) and our development partner The Michaels Organization (TMO) are leading the project in partnership with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC)—a redevelopment of the O’Donnell Heights, a public housing community in Southeast Baltimore. 

AHC-GB and TMO have been redeveloping the massive 62-acre revitalization project in phases and already have constructed 144 townhome-style homes. The 60 apartments that are part of this next phase will replace the existing public housing, along with market affordable apartments. 

In April, Mayor Brandon Scott joined Councilmember Zeke Cohen, HABC President & CEO Janet Abrahams, Senate President Bill Ferguson, Delegate Brooke Lierman, O’Donnell Heights residents, and AHC and TMO project staff to announce the ARPA funding award for Key’s Pointe/O’Donnell Heights. 

“I am honored to be able to fill the gap and fulfill the city’s commitment to its long-time residents in the O’Donnell Heights community. This is an exciting development,” said Mayor Brandon Scott. “Once again, we are maximizing the impact of our ARPA allocation to help those most in need in our city.” 

AHC Greater Baltimore Director Mary Claire Davis has been leading the project. “As we move forward with the next phase, we’re excited to continue our long-term commitment to the O’Donnell Heights residents and surrounding communities, in partnership with TMO and HABC,” she said. “We are grateful to Councilmember Zeke Cohen for his passionate support of this project and community – and to Mayor Brandon Scott’s financial commitment of ARPA funds toward this effort.”  

Phase 2A of Key’s Pointe will construct 62 units of mixed-income rental homes. Thirty-one of these homes will be dedicated to current and relocated O’Donnell Heights residents. The remaining homes will be available to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) and less.  

Background 

The HABC selected AHC-GB and development partner TMO nearly 10 years ago to redevelop O’Donnell Heights, originally built in 1942 as WWII worker housing, converting to public housing after the war. Visit the Key’s Point development project page for more information.

 

Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

Students Announce College Choices on AHC’s Signing Day

Photos of students

(Front row, left to right) Carla Bacerra, Karen Gonzales Cifuentes, Abigia Mulugeta, Iyar Soliman. Sara Berhe Abraha, Margot Rodriguez, Alishaba Hayat, Anwar Elgattari (Back row, left to right) Claudia Andrade, Nichole Escobar, Betel Bereket, Laetitia Noutcha, Amelia Castro, Xiomara Amaya, Dayana Cespedes, Anand Tselmeg, Nicolas Lopez, Ayman Adam, Hermon Gebreezgi, Fraol Gurmu

Students in AHC Inc.’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) program on May 6 gathered for college signing day – where they announced their college plans and donned new t-shirts for their chosen colleges.

This year, the CCR program included 42 high school seniors from lower income homes. And these remarkable students earned more than $6.5 Million in scholarships and grants. Most of the students are the first generation in their family to reach this educational milestone.

Since its official launch in 2016, CCR has served 169 students. Tutors and mentors, key players in the program, also joined the celebration of achievement.

For CCR Manager Gabriela Segovia, it was also a special day. “This is the first class of seniors I have supported from beginning to end,” she commented. “You are all standing here, because 30 years ago, AHC made a commitment to its residents by providing them with services to help them succeed, and what better way to do this than to increase access to education.”

About Some of the Students

Joel Escobar is attending the University of Rochester this fall. Joel is a Posse Scholar and received a full ride to the University of Rochester. He is planning to study Education Policy, and his goal is to become a teacher. Ultimately, Joel hopes to take his teaching experience to work for the school board and apply his expertise to enact change. Joel also hopes to inspire his little brother in middle school. “I want to share my experience with my family. I’m excited to be the first person in our family to go to college, but I don’t want to be the only one.”

Alishaba Hayat, a Yorktown High School student, is planning to study engineering at the University of Virginia in the coming year. She joined the CCR program the summer before her junior year. “I didn’t know anything about FAFSA or applying to college. The program gave me insight into the whole process, a year in advance, so when it came to apply, I was ready,” said Alishaba.

Sara Abraha has lived nearly all her life in Arlington and is heading across the country to attend Pomona in the fall, majoring in sociology. Throughout high school, she’s been active with Key Club and Mentor Connect, and Generation Ratify, a youth-led group that advocates for ratifying the equal rights amendment. “I want to use what I learn to help others – especially people in marginalized communities,” says Sara. Her older sister was also in CCR. “[CCR] helped me navigate some of the confusing areas of applying for schools and looked out for opportunities regarding my interests. They had workshops on things like FAFSA that were really helpful,” says Sara.”

Karen Cifuentes attends Washington Liberty High School and received a full ride to attend Carnegie Mellon University this fall. She’s planning a career in the tech field, and her dream is to represent Latina women in STEM and inspire other young Latina women. “I am majoring in information systems and am excited to focus on my passion. Karen joined CCR early in her junior year. “As a first-gen student, I didn’t have my parents to rely on, so I had to look for outside resources, and CCR made it easy to find those resources.”

About the College and Career Readiness Program

CCR provides students living in AHC’s affordable apartment communities with the tools and support to successfully graduate from high school and go to college or develop a career path. High school juniors and seniors work one-on-one with a mentor who helps them navigate the challenges of applying for financial support, scholarships, and identifying educational and career options.

Where They’re Headed This Fall

  • Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
  • George Mason Univ.
  • Univ. of Virginia
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • U.S. Marines
  • Notre Dame
  • Univ. of Rochester
  • Marymount Univ.
  • Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  • James Madison Univ.
  • Virginia Tech
  • Pomona College
  • Yale Univ.
  • Gap Year

Interested in Mentoring or Tutoring?

Contact Laura Jackson at volunteer@ahcinc.org.